Old Hijazi Arabic
  (Redirected from Old Higazi)
Old Hijazi, or Old Higazi, is a variety of Old Arabic attested in Hejaz the western part of Saudi Arabia from about the 1st century to the 7th century. It is the variety thought to underlie the Quranic Consonantal Text (QCT) and in its later iteration was the prestige spoken and written register of Arabic in the Umayyad Caliphate.
Old Hejazi

RegionHejaz (Saudi Arabia)
Era1st century to 7th century
Old Hejazi
Dadanitic, Arabic, Greek
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Old Ḥijāzī is characterized by the innovative relative pronoun ʾallaḏī (Arabic: ٱلَّذِي‎‎), ʾallatī (Arabic: ٱلَّتِي‎‎), etc., which is attested once in the inscription JSLih 384 and is the common form in the QCT,[1] as opposed to the form - which is otherwise common to Old Arabic.
The infinitive verbal complement is replaced with a subordinating clause ʾan yafʿala, attested in the QCT and a fragmentary Dadanitic inscription.
The QCT along with the papyri of the first century after the Islamic conquests attest a form with an l-element between the demonstrative base and the distal particle, producing from the original proximal set ḏālika and tilka.
The emphatic interdental and lateral were realized as voiced, in contrast to Northern Old Arabic, where they were voiceless.
Consonant phonemes of Old Hejazi
 plain emphatic plain emphatic
Nasalm n     
Stopvoicelessp ف t k ~ q ق ʔ1
voicedb dɟ ~ g ج  
voiced ðzðˤ ɣʕ 
Lateralɮˤ ~ d͡ɮˤ ض
Flap / Trill  r     
Approximant  l  jw  
The sounds in the chart above are based on the constructed phonology of Proto-Semitic and the phonology of Modern Hejazi Arabic.
  1. The consonants ⟨ض⟩ and ⟨ظ⟩ were voiced, in contrast with Northern Old Arabic, where they may have been voiceless[2]
  2. The glottal stop /ʔ/ was lost in Old Hejazi, except after word-final [aː].[3] It is still retained in Modern Hejazi in few positions.
  3. Historically, it is not well known in which stage of Arabic the shift from the Old Hejazi phonemes /p/, /g/, /q/ and /ɮˤ/ to Modern Hejazi /f/ ⟨ف⟩, /d͡ʒ/ ⟨ج⟩, /g/ ⟨ق⟩ and /dˤ/ ⟨ض⟩ occurred. Although the change in /g/ and /kʼ ~ q/ has been attested as early as the eighth century CE, and it can be explained by a chain shift / kʼ ~ q / → /g/ → /d͡ʒ/.[4] (See Hejazi Arabic)
Monophthong phonemes
In contrast to Classical Arabic, Old Hejazi had the phonemes [] and [], which arose from the contraction of Old Arabic [aja] and [awa], respectively. It also may have had short [e] from the reduction of [] in closed syllables:[5]
The QCT attests a phenomenon of pausal final long -ī dropping, which was virtually obligatory.[6]
Comparison with Classical Arabic
last shared ancestorQCT (Old Hejazi)Classical Arabic
nájawatunنجوهnajáwatu > najṓhnájātun
nájawatu-kaنجاتكnajawátu-ka > najātu-knájātu-ka
túqayatunتقىهtuqáyatu > tuqḗhtúqātun
túqayati-huتقاتهtuqayáti-hu > tuqāt́i-htuqāt́i-hi
Here is an example of reconstructed Old Hejazi side-by-side with its classicized form, with remarks on phonology:
Old Hejazi (reconstructed)Classicized (Hafs)
bism allāh alraḥmān alraḥīm
1) ṭāhā
2) mā anzalnā ʿalayk alqurān litašqē
3) illā taḏkirah liman yaḫšē
4) tanzīlā mimman ḫalaq alarḍ walsamāwāt alʿulē
5) alraḥmān ʿalay alʿarš astawē
6) lah mā fī lsamāwāt wamā fī larḍ wamā baynahumā wamā taḥt alṯarē
7) waïn taǧhar bilqawl faïnnah yaʿlam alsirr waäḫfē
8) allāh lā ilāh illā huww lah alasmāʾ alḥusnē
9) wahal atēk ḥadīṯ mūsē
10) iḏ rāʾ nārā faqāl liählih amkuṯū innī ānast nārā laʿallī ātīkum minhā biqabas aw aǧid ʿalay alnār hudē
11) falammā atēhā nūdī yāmūsē
12) innī anā rabbuk faäḫlaʿ naʿlayk innak bilwād almuqaddas ṭuwē
bismi llāhi rraḥmāni rraḥīm
1) ṭāhā
2) mā ʾanzalnā ʿalayka lqurʾāna litašqā
3) ʾillā taḏkiratan liman yaḫšā
4) tanzīlan mimman ḫalaqa lʾarḍa wassamāwāti lʿulā
5) ʾarraḥmānu ʿalā lʿarši stawā
6) lahū mā fī ssamāwāti wamā fī lʾarḍi wamā baynahumā wamā taḥta ṯṯarā
7) waʾin taǧhar bilqawli faʾinnahū yaʿlamu ssirra waʾaḫfā
8) ʾallāhu lā ʾilāha ʾillā huwa lahū lʾasmāʾu lḥusnā
9) wahal ʾatāka ḥadīṯu mūsā
10) ʾiḏ raʾā nāran faqāla liʾahlihī mkuṯū ʾinnī ʾānastu nāran laʿallī ʾātīkum minhā biqabasin ʾaw ʾaǧidu ʿalā nnāri hudā
11) falammā ʾatāhā nūdiya yāmūsā
12) ʾinnī ʾana rabbuka faḫlaʿ naʿlayka ʾinnaka bilwādi lmuqaddasi ṭuwā
Nominal inflection
TriptoteDiptoteDualMasculine PluralFeminine Plural
Proto-Arabic nouns could take one of the five above declensions in their basic, unbound form.
The definite article spread areally among the Central Semitic languages and it would seem that Proto-Arabic lacked any overt marking of definiteness.
Old Hejazi (Quranic Consonantal Text)
Nominal inflection
TriptoteDiptoteDualMasculine PluralFeminine Plural
The Qur'anic Consonantal Text presents a slightly different paradigm to the Safaitic, in which there is no case distinction with determined triptotes, but the indefinite accusative is marked with a final /ʾ/.
In JSLih 384, an early example of Old Hejazi, the Proto-Central Semitic /-t/ allomorph survives in bnt as opposed to /-ah/ < /-at/ in s1lmh.
Old Ḥejāzī is characterized by the innovative relative pronoun ʾallaḏī, ʾallatī, etc., which is attested once in JSLih 384 and is the common form in the QCT.[1]
The infinitive verbal complement is replaced with a subordinating clause ʾan yafʿala, attested in the QCT and a fragmentary Dadanitic inscription.
The QCT along with the papyri of the first century after the Islamic conquests attest a form with an l-element between the demonstrative base and the distal particle, producing from the original proximal set ḏālika and tilka.
Writing systems
A single text, JSLih 384, composed in the Dadanitic script, from northwest Arabia, provides the only non-Nabataean example of Old Arabic from the Ḥijāz.
Transitional Nabataeo-Arabic
A growing corpus of texts carved in a script in between Classical Nabataean Aramaic and what is now called the Arabic script from Northwest Arabia provides further lexical and some morphological material for the later stages of Old Arabic in this region. The texts provide important insights as to the development of the Arabic script from its Nabataean forebear and are an important glimpse of the Old Ḥejāzī dialects.
Arabic (Quranic Consonantal Text and 1st c. Papyri)
The QCT represents an archaic form of Old Hejazi.
Greek (Damascus Psalm Fragment)
The Damascus Psalm Fragment in Greek script represents a later form of prestige spoken dialect in the Umayyad Empire that may have roots in Old Hejazi. It shares features with the QCT such as the non-assimilating /ʾal-/ article and the pronominal form /ḏālika/. However, it shows a phonological merger between [] and [aː] and the development of a new front allophone of [a(ː)] in non-emphatic contexts, perhaps realized [e(ː)].
See also
  1. ^ a b Al-Jallad, Ahmad (2015-03-27). An Outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic Inscriptions. Brill. p. 48. ISBN 9789004289826.
  2. ^ Al-Jallad, Ahmad (2015). "On the Voiceless Reflex of *ṣ́ and *ṯ ̣ in pre-Hilalian Maghrebian Arabic". Journal of Arabic Linguistics (62): 88–95.
  3. ^ Putten, Marijn van. "The *ʔ in the Quranic Consonantal Text - Presented at NACAL45 (9-11 June 2017, Leiden)".
  4. ^ Cantineau, Jean (1960). Cours de phonétique arabe (in French). Paris, France: Libraire C. Klincksieck. p. 67.
  5. ^ Putten, Marijn van (2017). "The development of the triphthongs in Quranic and Classical Arabic". Arabian Epigraphic Notes. 3: 47–74.
  6. ^ Stokes, Phillip; Putten, Marijn van. "M. Van Putten & P.W. Stokes - Case in the Quranic Consonantal Text".
  7. ^ Al-Jallad, Ahmad. "One wāw to rule them all: the origins and fate of wawation in Arabic and its orthography".
  8. ^ "The people of the Thicket: Evidence for multiple scribes of a single Archetypal Quranic Text". Phoenix's blog. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  9. ^ "Can you see the verb 'to see'?". Phoenix's blog. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
External links
Last edited on 13 April 2021, at 19:10
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